Showing posts with label Syrah rosé. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syrah rosé. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Pink Wine From Monterey County

The Seaglass Wine Company is based in St. Helena, California, while making wines from vineyards south of Napa, in the state's Central Coast appellation. They notably pull fruit from the Los Alamos Vineyard in Santa Barbara County, but for their Rosé they went to Monterey County for the grapes.

The 2022 Seaglass Wine Rosé was made from 53% Grenache grapes, 23% Pinot Noir, 19% Syrah and 5% Viognier. The wine was crafted entirely from free-run juice, with no pressed grapes at all. The winery claims that this move helps produce a softer wine with a lighter body. Fermentation took place cold, in steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation. Alcohol hits 13.5% and I bought the wine for less than $10.

This wine has a pale salmon color, like onion skin. The nose carries light aromas of strawberry and citrus, but easy on the lemon. On the palate, there is a lovely sense of fruit, with minerals along for the ride. Strawberry, raspberry, lemon and a very light flavor of cardamom. Acidity is fresh and the finish is lengthy. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Chilean Wine: The Angels of Montes

Chilean wine is a special thing for me. I love the dark nature the wines often take on, and I love thinking of the beautiful mountain backdrop for the vineyards. The virtual wine tasting session for Montes Wines was in mid-February, and I was lucky enough to be invited to join as tasters tasted and winemaker Aurelio Montes chipped in his observations throughout the event.

Montes offered that "Chile is developing new varieties. In the future, you will see new and exciting varieties and styles. Blends are a new focus." Explaining the unique Colchagua Valley terroir of the vineyards from which his fruit comes, Montes said, "it is the granitic soil with some iron oxide in the middle, and very old clay that allow the vines grow without water." He tweeted about the winery’s ecological concerns, saying, "we not only take care of the environment, we also take care of our team, suppliers, and importers around the world. Our philosophy in winemaking is all about equilibrium and harmony."

He even explained those wonderful illustrations on the labels, done by the iconic artist Ralph Steadman. "Our cofounder Douglas Murray believed angels protected him," he said. "He wanted the same for Montes so he put angel images on every bottle." The cherub depicted is Alfredo, named after a founding partner of the Montes label.

Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah 2015

The grapes for this rosé come from the Archangel Estate in Marchigûe, their estate that is closest to the ocean. Alcohol is 13.5% abv and it’s 100% Syrah with no oak to get in the way of the fruit. It sells for $15.

This pink wine is not shy, it commands attention right out of the bottle. Pouring up a bright cherry red, it looks like a Spanish rosado. A whiff brings into focus some truly earthy strawberry and cherry aromas. There is a great deal of stemmy greenness in that whiff, too. The palate is lush and fruity but there is an awesome acidity that makes it so fresh the day will turn into spring all around you, no matter what season it is. Twitter contributors suggested pairing it with Mexican spiced salmon or a tuna poke. It was great with smoked mahi mahi.

Montes Twins Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

As the name suggests, it’s a 50/50 mix of the labeled grapes.  With this blend you get smooth texture from the Malbec and rich structure from the Cab. It is only 14% abv and nearly half of the wine was aged for ten months in new French oak barrels. The growing season featured a cooler than normal spring with some temperature spikes in the summer. It retails for $15, a great price.

It’s a dark wine, in shading and aromas. The whiff gives off smokey and earthy notes of blackberry and cassis, but the savory stuff is what comes forward the most. On the palate it’s dark as well. Plums, berries, spices - all dark. There are flavors of campfire and anise covering the black fruit like a blanket. Great acidity lasts into the finish.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Holiday Wine 2014: Cornerstone Cellars

A series on wines for the holidays.

At a recent wine event in Los Angeles, Cornerstone Cellars’ managing partner Craig Camp spoke to me, as eloquently as always, about his Cornerstone wines and the great vineyard sites from which they harvest grapes.  He also mentioned something near and dear to my heart.  Rosé wine.

He agrees that pink wine need not be a summer-only event.  In fact, he stated specifically how great his Corallina rosé is with Thanksgiving turkey.  To that I can only add, it is even better with those leftover turkey sandwiches on Black Friday.  That one, plus a few more holiday essential wines from Cornerstone follow.

2013 Corallina by Stepping Stone  $25
This is one of my favorite California pinks.  The Napa Valley vineyard from which these grapes come is west of the Oak Knoll district, almost in Carneros.  The aromas and flavors, while fruity, are more complex than those generally found in pink wines.  This is one Syrah rosé in which the Syrah really shows up for work. It is deeply-colored and richly textured.  It looks pink, but it drinks red.

We always need a nice white wine for holiday entertaining, and why not Sauvignon Blanc?  Cornerstone's Sauv Blanc is rich and vivacious, two things we would all like to be.  It's great with turkey, too, or as an aperitif.

Not to brag on the excellent growing conditions in the Napa Valley, but Camp reports, "In Bordeaux they add Sémillon to add richness, but in the Napa Valley we can achieve that depth with the Sauvignon Blanc variety alone, letting the pure essence of this noble variety shine."

A holiday beef dish needs a Cab, and why not go all out for the holiday feast?  Cornerstone made their name with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and here we have two reasons why.

Camp really bristles if you mention that the cool 2011 vintage was a problematic one.  He's quite content with a more Bordeauxesque growing season.  "The problems climate presents to winegrowers in Napa," he says, "are those of over-ripeness, sugars that mature ahead of flavors and lack of acidity. In truth, the hot vintages are the problem vintages in Napa, not the cooler ones.

"At Cornerstone Cellars," he continues, "we are very pleased with our 2011 wines and love their balance and freshness and length.  Our Cabernet has that bit of an herbal edge that makes the variety so compelling and so amazing with food.  A liberal dollop of Merlot, which ripens earlier than Cabernet, adds richness and a velvety mouthfeel to our 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon White Label."

Camp: "The vineyards of the Howell Mountain AVA are well above the fog line meaning many extra hours of sunshine, which paid off big time in the cooler 2011 vintage.  In fact, I believe the wines from this AVA really benefited from the milder weather, which helped restrain the aggressive mountain tannins. What you'll find in our 2011 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, White Label is a classical Cabernet structure with firm, but perfectly ripe integrated tannins.  In my opinion it is a wine that should be ready to drink in five to seven years, but with proper storage can develop for decades."  Offer as a gift for the patient, with dinner for those of us who cannot wait.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Drink Pink: Cornerstone Cellars Stepping Stone Corallina Rosé 2013

Cornertone Cellars’ managing partner, Craig Camp, has some strong feelings about wine being being pink.  He writes, “Just because you’re pink does not mean you’re a rosé.”  He cites White Zinfandel as a case in point.  A great place to start your wine journey, he muses, but the sweet, sappy flavor of many White Zins leaves him colder than a half bottle of Sutter Home in the back of the fridge.  “Unfortunately, because it’s pink (or kind of pink anyway) too many people think that all pink wine is sweet plonk.  Also, it’s a problem, as you can actually make a lovely real rosé from zinfandel.”

Camp goes on to talk about the saignée method of making rosé wine.  This is how many rosés are made, by bleeding off the juice from the grapes, leaving a more concentrated red wine behind.  This type of rosé is a winemaking byproduct, useful in cool regions mostly.  Camp says, “The downside of producing a pink wine in this manner is that you are harvesting your grapes at ideal ripeness levels for red wine, but not for pink wine. When done in a warm climate you get the candied flavors, higher alcohols and odd neon colors that you see in so many pink wines.”

So what's so great about great rosé?  They know a little bit about the pink stuff in the south of France, and Camp tips his hand about the inspiration for Stepping Stone's Corallina rosé.  "Real rosé wines," he writes, are "made in the classic tradition of Bandol and Tavel.  Vineyards are selected to be for rosé from the start and farmed to create ideal fruit for this type of wine.  The grapes are picked when the flavors are fully ripe, but you don’t have to wait for the skin tannins to ripen like you would when making red wine. This means you can pick at higher acids and lower sugars that will give you a balanced, elegant and complex rosé.  The best of these real rosé wines then spend a short time on the lees in mature oak barrels to broaden flavors and develop a rich, creamy texture.  Such a wine is our Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosé.”

Cornerstone winemaker Jeff Keene got some great grapes to work with - 100% Syrah from the Crane Ranch Vineyard on the west side of Napa Valley's Oak Knoll District.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel and saw five months aging on the lees (in contact with the spent yeast cells) in neutral French oak.  Only 417 cases were produced and alcohol is a restrained 13.1% abv.  The beautiful label art is called “Wine Dance,” by the talented Janet Ekholm.

Corallina is tinted that color between coral and orange that is sometimes called salmon.  Bushel baskets of strawberries and cherries are on the expressive nose, as fresh as spring.  There is a green streak running through the fruit aromas like a big, crisp stem.  That's thanks to the whole cluster pressing of the grapes, stems and all.  A hint of spice rounds out an exemplary sniffing experience.

The wine feels great in the mouth, full and rich, with perfect acidity.  To say Corallina is flavorful is to cheat the wine of the praise due it.  This is one Syrah rosé in which the Syrah really shows up.  Strawberry and raspberry are in the forefront, but there is a beautiful hint of what I can only call a floral taste.  I've never tasted flowers, but this is what I imagine they would taste like.  Citrus and savory notes round out a palate whose complexity will make some red wines green with envy.  Pair it with something pretty - like a nice piece of salmon.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Drink Pink: Casey Flat Ranch Rosé

The California wines of Casey Flat Ranch were featured in a virtual tasting event recently.  The sustainably farmed vineyard and winery are located in the mountains of California’s Capay Valley, east of Napa Valley, at an elevation of 2,000 feet.  Soil conditions on the ranch range from rocky to sandy, with a sandstone base.  The climate is much like that of northern St. Helena, with a swing of 40 degrees between daytime and night - suitable for Bordeaux and Rhône varieties.  That Texas longhorn on the label represents the 200 head of longhorn cattle who graze on the ranch's grassland.

The Twitter tasting was also on a live video stream, archived here.  Casey Flat Ranch Managing Partner Alison Garrett and winemaker Laura Barrett hosted, while those who joined in sipped and commented on four CFR wines, one of them being the 2013 Rosé.

The 2013 Casey Flat Ranch Rosé of Syrah is all estate Syrah, grown in the Capay Valley hills east of a Napa Valley.  Alcohol clocks in at 14.1% abv and it retails for $18.  205 cases were produced.

Winemaker Barrett reveals, “The Casey Flat Ranch Rosé is made from Syrah grapes, which are harvested early and whole-cluster pressed to yield a pale pink, well-balanced juice with all natural acidity.”

The wine is tinted a light salmon, actually almost copper-colored.  There was no skin contact, as the juice was extracted especially for the making of this rosé.  The nose is as fresh as spring itself, with strawberry aromas laced with orange peel.  An herbal note underlies the fruit, a result of pressing the grape clusters whole, with stems and all.   This rosé's palate is fruity and delicate, with strawberry, raspberry and citrus abetted by an amazing level of acidity.  Despite the angular freshness, there is a full and almost creamy feel in the mouth.  It finishes with a raspberry tartness.

On Twitter, the Casey Flat Ranch Rosé garnered some pink love.  @WINEormous tweeted, “Gorgeous pale rose color. Bone dry.”  @WineUpdate chimed in with, “deeply stylish: Sweet cherry, cranberry, mineral, spice. Savory and giving.”  @Luscious_Lushes typed, “full of blood orange and rosehips. Juicy wild strawberry, hisbiscus zing. loving the spicy notes. Perfect for Thai.”  @cliffordbrown3 offered these tasting notes, “strawberries, spice, cherries, minerals and orange blossoms.”  @MsPullThatCork let us know that the wine is “made from 100% Syrah, no skin contact! All stainless. ‘Ballet slipper pink’ in color. Delicate berry flavors, juicy acidity. “  @BigNoseWino liked the “super strawberry spicy nose w/ nice acidity that slaps the back of your throat on the finish.”  @WineJulia chipped in with, “made in a classic style & harvested for making rose'. No skin contact w/ gorgeous color!”

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Virtual Wine Tasting: Casey Flat Ranch

Virtual wine tasting events are popping up more and more often on Twitter.  Maybe a virtual wine tasting event has been held on Facebook, but it probably spiralled into a gun control rant within ten comments.  Twitter is where one can usually find a virtual tasting event that stays on topic - for the most part.

This evening (Wednesday April 30, 2014) at 5:00 p.m. PT, the fine folks at San Francisco publicity house Charles Communication are set to host another virtual tasting event, this time featuring wines from Casey Flat Ranch, located in the mountains of California’s Capay Valley AVA in Yolo County - as opposed to YOLO county.

The vineyards of this historic longhorn cattle ranch are nestled 2,000 feet high in the Vaca mountains, overlooking the Capay Valley to the east and bordering Napa county to the west.  I am told that the high elevation produces terroir-driven  wines, “serious, elegant wines, packed with fresh fruit and stunning minerality.”  I can’t wait until we find out for ourselves.

Hosting the virtual tasting event will be Casey Flat Ranch Managing Partner Alison Garrett and winemaker Laura Barrett.  Four Casey Flat Ranch wines will be tasted and tweeted about:  the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2013 Syrah Rosé, the 2012 Viognier and the 2011 CFR Estate Red Blend.

If you are new to the virtual wine tasting scene, here’s how you do it.  First, sign into your Twitter account.  The tweets can be searched by hashtag - #CFRBrandLive - so be sure to use that when you jump in with comments.  If you can get a bottle of one or more of the wines, that’s great.  Even if you can’t, join in and learn a bit about Casey Flat Ranch and their wines.

You can also access the live stream of the event by using this link.  Once you click on the link, you’ll see a box on the right hand side that says ‘Questions from the Audience.’  Fill in your name and location and type up your comment or question, which will be viewed by all who are following along.

We’ll look for you in the hashtag.  You can use the rocking chairs, but please clean up your Twitter shavings.

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